The Charmed Garden

From Planning to Planting, and from Harvest to Table.

Herbs and Veggies

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We are well past spring cleanup here but still have spring-like weather. Not so cool for the veggies that like the heat (tomatoes, eggplants – think Mediterranean). The upside is our greens are going strong. Spinach, Kale, Chard and lettuce like this kind of weather. In fact we’ve had sooooo much rain here in Chicagoland that my lettuce had the biggest (and undoubtedly grossest) slugs I’ve ever seen – antennae and all. So, after cleaning up the greens beds I had plenty to share with friends and family. I have posted some photos of the veggie beds in stages.

early spring, only chives up and running

early spring, only chives up and running


slightly overgrown greens
You can be creative in limited spaces when planning your garden, flowers and veggies. Our heirloom tomatoes are strung up along the side of our garage but are camouflaged by roses and perennials. I have attached a photo for you. The view from the deck and our windows is of the flowers. Even when the tomatoes grow taller than the flowering plants, your eye is drawn to the colors other than green. As you can see, the tomatoes are not in cages, which also saves space. They are attached to cord strung between the posts. This method lets you grow more tomatoes, but you do have to trim the excess leaves along the bottom of the plants to keep the area clean and dry.
toms along the garage
lovely flower cover for the toms
flowers in front of toms along side of garage

Containers of any size can have a combination of veggies and flowers. I have also posted photos of containers with veggies, herbs and flowers all loving the same space. A note here on water logged containers – yes too much water is a bad thing. The large pots have had to be re-potted because of nonstop rain and colder than normal temps. So the pots had no time to dry out. Normally the large pots would have sufficient drainage for “normal” weather conditions (what is that these days?). I add empty plant containers to the pot, (the kind you buy your annuals or little veggies in), along with stone, before adding the soil and the plants. This is a method I have used in my large pots before, but have learned a lesson here. Hope for the best, prepare for the alternative.
more veggies containers
herbs flowers and veggies on the deck
more veggies containers
We emptied the nasty smelling soil in a part of the yard that could use the soil and handle the bacteria. Drilled many new holes in these lovely pots, and re-potted the whole thing. The lettuce, a cucumber hybrid suitable for pot, and good old hardy lemon thyme were the only plants to survive. Fortunately I had some pepper plants I planted by seed in April that had been struggling along so I hadn’t the heart to discard them. They have now found new homes. The plants around the base of the poles are sweet peas which were on sale at the local nursery because they are just past the time for planting. So we’ll have peas later than “normal” but again, weather here is not what we are used to. Pea season is extended. replanted soggy pots.close up of repotted soggy pot with peppers cohabitating with flowers

Author: Laurine M. Byrne

I received my certification as a Landscape Designer from Northwestern University in Chicago, Illinois and I received my horticulture education through classes at the Morton Arboretum in Lisle, Illinois and through the master gardener program at Univ of Illinois Extension. In my designs, I love mixing veggies and herbs with native perennials and flowering bushes as you can see from the pictures of my own yard. I love creating gardens for people who like to garden, not just installing traditional landscaping, but actually creating gardens that the homeowner connects to personally. I love that my clients who thought they couldn't grow anything now have green thumbs, because all it takes is the right plant in the right site. And I really love that my clients become my friends in the process of creating their gardens.

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